Recently, astronomers began quite an intriguing study about the enormous pull the gas titan Jupiter has on the orbit of Earth. Even if the planets part of our Solar System are considerably far apart, they are still close sufficient to influence each other’s orbits. Earth, for example, its interactions with Jupiter and Saturn, can extend the oval aspect of its orbit. Moreover, it can result in the influence of its axial angle. Finally, it will create the Milankovitch cycles, some glacial, and interglacial weather sequences. Such a thing, however, didn’t prevent life from flourishing, although Ice Age extinction events. Astronomers are now concerned about the possibility of Jupiter’s influence if it was powerful, and Earth’s orbit became even more extended and unconventional. Also, it would matter for our planet’s habitability?
As astronomer Jonti Horner from the University of Southern Queensland detailed “if Earth’s orbit was as variable as the orbit of Mercury in our solar system, Earth would not be habitable.” He added that the irregularity of Mercury’s orbit could reach a 0.45 level, and if Earth would it be like that, then it would be closer to the Sun than Venus when it’s nearest to the sun. Also, it would be as far away as Mars when it’s at its most distant position.
Jonti Horner and his team developed a simulation project of the Solar System, and they placed Jupiter around to see what the results would be. They are now able to determine how the planets gravitationally interact and how the planets realize the process of orbiting. Horner explained, “One of the things we found immediately was that it’s actually quite easy to make our Solar System unstable. […] within 10 million years, the Solar System fell apart.” He later adds that the planers began crashing into each other and being removed from the Solar System. Their study dismissed the Rare Earth hypothesis that shows that the conditions that develop life on Earth are so different that they will never be replicated anywhere else in the Universe.
Moreover, Horner detailed the fact that “…most planets that you find that are on Earth’s orbit in systems that we simulated would be equally suitable for life as Eart.”